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The offence of Adultery did not punish women

The section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, describes Adultery. In adultery there will be is a sexual relationship between a person who is married to another person rather than his or her spouse. If sexual intercourse is done with the wife with the permission of the husband, it will not be an offense. Also, the wife will not be punished, even if she is a participant in sexual intercourse with consent. A bigamy is an act of marrying again, while the first marriage is currently valid. It can also be defined as the process of marrying again by a person during the lifetime of husband or wife. The offense of bigamy mainly consists of marrying the second spouse in the lifetime of the wife or husband, even if the first marriage currently exists.

The essential ingredients of adultery are:

  1. There must be sexual intercourse with the consent of the woman;
  2. Such woman was married
  3. the penetration must be sufficient to constitute sexual intercourse necessary to the offence;
  4. knowledge and reasonable belief that the woman is married to another man and that marriage should be lawful;
  5. the husband of the woman had not consented or connived for the sex with his wife; 10 5. and the husband has complained about the sexual intercourse.

Example: 'B' a boy has sexual relationship with 'W' a woman who is the wife of 'M' a man. B the flirt knows it or he has reason to believe that W is the wife of poor M. M has neither given his consent nor connivance to B for such sexual intercourse. Though such sexual intercourse by B will not amount to rape, but B shall be guilty to the offence of Adultery.

Person Entitled to Make Complaint on Adultery

A husband alone is authorized to make a complaint on adultery.12 An offence of adultery can be charged only against a male and based on a complaint by a husband and nobody else


The punishment for adultery is a imprisonment for a term of maximum five years or with fine or both. Only the male offender is punishable under this section and the adulterous wife cannot be punished not even as an abettor

Adultery refers to the intended sexual relationship between a married person and the person rather than his or her spouse. Bigamy refers to the act of marrying again, while the first marriage is valid.




Adultery is an offence defined in Section 497 under chapter 20 of the Indian Penal Code, dealing with the offences marriage

Rape is an offence defined under Section 375 and custodial rape under Section 376B to 376D.It is defined in chapter 16 of the Indian Penal Code relating to offences Affecting the human body.


Definition :

Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor (Section 497).


375. A man is said to commit "rape" if he--

a. penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or

b. inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or

c. manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or

d. applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:-

First.- Against her will.

Secondly.-Without her consent.

Thirdly.-With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.

Fourthly.-With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifthly.-With her consent when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome Substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Sixthly.-With or without her consent, when she is under eighteen years of age.

Seventhly.- When she is unable to communicate consent



Offence against whom?

Adultery is an offence against the husband.

Offence against whom?

Rape is an offence against the women herself irrespective of married or unmarried.



In the case of Adultery the consent of the woman is immaterial. In fact, the woman is always a willing and consenting party to sexual intercourse.


Consent is a defence to rape. In the case of rape of the offence is committed against the will and without the consent of the women. However, if the girl is under sixteen years of age the offence can be committed even with her consent.


Aggrieved Party: The husband is the aggrieved party.

Aggrieved Party : Women herself


Adultery may be committed only when the woman is married and she is the wife of someone.

Rape can be committed on any women married or unmarried.


Adultery cannot be commit with

1) an unmarried woman,

2) a widow

3) a married woman when her husband consents to or connives at it, or

4) a divorced women

Rape cannot committed when the women has consented for the sexual intercourse except when the women is under 18 years of age.


Punishment :

Adultery is less serious offence and punishment may extend up to five years imprisonment or fine or both.

Punishment :

Rape is more serious offence and punishment may extend upto life imprisonment or ten years which may be reduced adequate or special reasons.

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